The majority of renters in New Orleans are economically over-burdened, paying increasingly higher rates for substandard housing, according to a report released Wednesday (Dec. 3) by the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center.In the first paragraph of the report we learn, once again, that gentrification isn't just a natural thing. It's a result of the city's intentional policy decisions.
The segment of the population spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities -- the threshold at which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development identifies people as experiencing financial hardship -- increased to 58 percent in 2013, up from 54 percent the year before.
And the quality of that housing has been called into question with 78 percent of all rental units in the city found to be in need of significant repairs, according to the most recent American Housing Survey conducted in 2011.
New Orleans is a city of renters. Fifty-five percent of the city’s housing stock is composed of rentals, but unfortunately thousands of tenants live in homes with physical conditions that are unsafe and unhealthy. The substandard conditions of these units affect the families who live in them but also contribute to neighborhood blight, affecting homeowners’ property values and the quality of life overall. The City’s code enforcement process rarely offers relief, as all of its efforts are directed at vacant, blighted homes instead.Why is the city ok with allowing (or promoting) gentrification? I mean you'd think that they'd give out "resilience" awards for helping to keep residents who are facing poverty and squalor afloat. But of course that's not what that's about.
The real key to successful 21st Century urban development is making sure there are nice things for rich people. After all, how are you gonna be "Hollywood South" if you can't accommodate Hollywood?
Then there are all the other people touched by film in uncounted ways — for instance, people who rent their homes out as film sets or lodging. A website called Key to NOLA caters to the industry with short-term, high-end rentals, some going for as much as $5,000 a month.The city still hasn't said what it wants to do about short term vacation rentals pricing residents out into crappier and crappier living conditions... if they want to do anything at all about it, which seems doubtful.